Friday, December 29, 2006

A Message From You...we all send one

“Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.” 2 Cor. 3:2-3 (MSG)

To think about the fact that my life is a letter others are reading-that my life contains a message to others is at times exciting and other times troublesome. I know what I want the message to be, but what is it really? What is the message of my life? Is it one of hope? Is it one of discouragement? Depends on who you talk to I guess.

There are times when I think that the message of my life could turn out to be failure, and then God’s Spirit within beckons me forward toward destiny. He invites me to cooperate with Him in writing His story. He has a way of telling the same story over and over in new and creative ways in all of our lives-but we must cooperate. I know that when I first came to be a follower of Jesus, it was because of my deep shame and frustration with the person I felt I had become. Then I heard a message:

Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”

This is the core message-that God takes His broken image in people and restores it! He loves His creation and it breaks His heart to see it (us) destroyed. He purposes to see us made whole again. He desires for us to fully reflect His image. He has predestined us to be like His Son. I think that the message Jesus uses to bring us to Him often becomes our life message. To me it was a message that said “Chris, you think you are nobody, but I know that you have divine potential”. That message resonated deeply within-it penetrated to my innermost being and gave me hope. I dared believe that I had value to God and others.

I now realize that message was so real to me that it became my life message. I love more than anything to share that message. Nobodies are in! The Kingdom of God’s Son is built with rejects. I love to see the underdog win. I love to see the broken- hearted heal. I derive deep satisfaction from seeing the “worthless” find their worth in Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NLT) “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

Yes. In Christ, all can be made new. This is my story. For those who have seen the parts of me still under renovation, no worries, He is not done with me (or you) yet!

Philippians 1:6 (NLT) “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.”

What is your life message? What story is God writing in your heart? How will your story become a re- telling of His great story?

Chris Bennett
New Community Church

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The followers came to Jesus and asked, "Why do you use stories to teach the people?" Matt. 13:10

The stories we embrace become the lens through which we view and interpret ourselves and the world around us. The Gospel is powerful story. Stories are the answer to our search for personal identity and resolution of conflict. Along with humor, story is the shortest distance between people. Jesus knew this better than anyone.

His stories’ healing and transformative effects were enlightening and empowering. A story well said creates connection between people. Its resonating powers speak directly to hearts and minds in ways that build common ground. It brings meaning and purpose to our individual and collective lives.

Jesus amazing ability to tell stories pierced through social, religious, and economic barriers and built bridges between fragmented humans. His intention was to knock down the painful walls of the human condition and build a community of faith rich in Gospel stories. These stories are designed to restore the unity that has always existed in the heart of God to the hearts of men. “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men”.

Your personal story of God and His expressed love for you is your most effective and authentic way to truly connect with others. People love a good story. Through hearing your story and understanding its deeper messages, others connect not only with you, but God. As the story is re-told throughout history God continues His connection with us. And our loving connections with each other are sustained.

I encourage you to get in touch with the depths of your story. This self-awareness is key to harnessing the internal drives that either motivate or hinder you in pursuit of your destiny. You have a powerful story that is waiting to be discovered and shared. I encourage you to share it. It will be a means of deep connection with others and a source of inspiration and healing as it becomes a “re-telling” of the Gospel. Yes, your story of a broken and hurting person (you) finding forgiveness and a journey of restoration to wholeness is the Good News of Jesus, and it is the “Greatest Story Ever Re-Told”.

New Series:"The Greatest Story Ever Re-Told"Visit Our Website

Chris Bennett
New Community Church

Thursday, December 14, 2006

your life story

“Your lives are a letter written in our hearts, and everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 3 Clearly, you are a letter from Christ prepared by us. It is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on stone, but on human hearts.” 2 Cor. 3:2-3

The story of the Gospel truly is the greatest story ever told. The words of early church father Irenaeus, “our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His trandscendant love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself” are among the richest words ever penned.

Irenaeus recognized that the story of Jesus is incomplete if it is only about Jesus. In fact, Jesus might say that it is not His story but “our story”. The Gospel could never be told in one story or one person’s story. It is a collection of countless stories of broken images of God who meet the One who is trandscendant Love, and thus find themselves caught up in a story of becoming what He is.

My story-your story is one of restoration to the image of God. Jesus is the “image of the invisible God”. He is what Designer God has/had in mind for all of us. Jesus life has recast the mold. Like ancient works of art that undergo a meticulous restorative process so the artists’ original rendering can be fully appreciated, so our lives are the story of being restored to God’s original intention.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.” Rom. 8:28-30

As hard as it is to keep this in focus, all of the events of my life have a Master design-all of them- good or bad. The days, weeks, months and years are pages and chapters of a good story. The greatest story ever retold. Our story is a story complete with an innocent beginning, plot twists, failures, enemies, heros, and a surprise ending. And believe me, we have a role! In the end, it is more about what we have become than what we have done. And what we are becoming is “even what He is Himself”.

May Jesus be retold in you!
May your life, when it is over, and the story retold, be good news.

Join us @ NCC This weekend for the new series:"The Greatest Story Ever Re-Told"

Chris Bennett
New Community Church

word power

The more I study scripture the more I am convinced of the amazing power of our words. No matter how you look at it, the words of our mouths can be a source of great benefit-to us as well as others. Meditate on these scriptures as you start your day.

Proverbs 12:13-14 (NIV)
“An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble. From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.” 1
Peter 3:10 (MSG)
“Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here's what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful;”
Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 10:21 (NIV)
“The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.”

These are just a few of the scriptures that we can reflect on as we seek to lead healthy, productive lives that make a difference in the world. This understanding of word power has changed the way I look at personal significance.

As I pray and choose my words carefully, I can cooperate with God to restore His image in others. When you think about it, this is an incredible opportunity and an amazing priveledge. To partner with God in speaking life to others through faith-filled words to bring restoration to human hearts is the highest of callings there is.

Look around you today. Do you see all the people? Do you see their needs for encouragement, hope, and love? Is there anything that you can say that might change their day? With a little thoughtful prayer I am sure that God will show you many opportunities.

May you speak nourishing words today.
May your words restore the broken image of God in others.
May you enjoy the fruit of your lips all the days of your life.

Proverbs 15:23 (NKJV)
“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”

The weekend series: “Big Mouth” has ended

New Series begins this weekend:

"The Greatest Story Ever Re-Told"

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Untamed Tongues

“no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?” James 3:8-11

Certainly the scriptures have much to say about the words of our mouths. Our words influence our emotional health, direction, and ultimately our destiny. But what I’m reflecting on today is the impact of our words on others. What about their health? Direction? Destiny?

Today my wife said to me that she thought the reason why so many people hurt others with words is because they have no respect for themselves. Then I thought about James’ comment, “curses against those who have been made in the image of God.” It was then that I began to realize how true Michelle’s statement was. We do not fully appreciate the fact that we are God’s image. Therefore we cannot respect that image-not in ourselves, and consequently (or especially), not in others.

Quite simply, the spoken word is the single-most powerful force ever. Energy is contained in our words-positive and negative. We either cooperate with God in redeeming and restoring His broken image in others, or we perpetuate the destruction. With our words, we either call people out of the shadows, or we drive them deeper into the darkness.

The old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is an enormous lie. I have been hit with both stick and stone and recovered fully. But there are painful words from my past that still have power to injure me today. Satan uses these “bitter” words to steal, kill, or destroy God’s image in all of us.

The churches’ mission is to bring forth a different message. We are to place this message into the hearts of all who would listen: You can be made new! A full restoration is offered in Jesus Christ! God’s beauty on display in people!

Proverbs 10:32 (NLT) “The godly speak words that are helpful, but the wicked speak only what is corrupt.”

May we come to realize that people are given life or death through our words.
May we surrender our tongues to Jesus as instruments of life.
May we see the potential beauty of God in others as we form our words.
May our words have power to restore the cracked image of God in others.

Current weekend series: “Big Mouth”Embracing the Impact of my Words

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Chris Bennett
New Community Church